A Kaysville physician convicted six months ago of negligent homicide in the 1986 death of a premature infant following a home birth was given a one-year suspended jail term and fined $2,500 Wednesday.
Dr. David Warden said after the sentencing in Layton 2nd Circuit Court that he's sorry for the November 1986 death of the premature baby boy, but also glad he won't have to spend any time in jail, as recommended in an Adult Probation and Parole pre-sentence report.The physician was convicted in February of negligent homicide, a Class A misdemeanor, in the death of Jareth Young. The infant was born at home in Kaysville prematurely and died about 12 hours later of a respiratory disease common to premature babies.
Warden's attorney, Darwin Hansen, and Davis County Attorney Mel Wilson, who prosecuted the case, both asked Judge K. Roger Bean to put Warden on probation instead of in jail. The conviction carries a jail term of up to a year.
The judge agreed. He suspended Warden's jail time and put him on 24 months of informal probation. He fined the physician $2,500 and ordered him to pay $600 restitution to the family of the infant.
After the sentencing, Hansen filed a motion asking for a new trial. One appeal has already been turned down by the judge. Bean set an Aug. 24 date to hear arguments if a new trial should be granted.
In the sentencing hearing, Hansen told the judge that Warden has already suffered in the community and jail time would not contribute anything more. He has suffered financially; lost prestige in the community and among his peers; and his medical license has been jeopardized, the attorney said.
The state physician licensing board reviewed Warden's license in June and put him on probation for five years. Warden must complete a board-approved obstetrics course before he can practice in that area again and pass a competency test in general practice before next March.
The doctor also agreed to a voluntary 30-day sabbatical from his practice, which ends Monday, Hansen said.
Hansen told the judge that the death of Jareth Young weighs heavily on Warden. The infant's death is the only one in more than 500 home deliveries since opening his practice in Kaysville 20 years ago, Warden said, adding that he has given up home deliveries.
Wilson, who prosecuted the case, told Judge Bean it is one of the more difficult he's handled and he agonized over filing the charges and pursuing it in court.
He also recommended Warden not spend any time in jail and said he'd conferred with the victim's family Tuesday night and they, too, feel jail is not necessary.
The case is unique, Wilson said, and the conviction itself carries far more consequence for Warden and his practice than any jail time.
After sentencing Warden, the judge said he would like to see a healing process begin in the community, with Warden continuing to contribute his medical skills, and wished him well.
"I'm grateful the court was sensitive to my feelings and my desire to continue my practice," Warden said after the hearing. "I'm happy I'm not going to jail, I feel I've been punished enough and I don't feel it's necessary.
"The healing process in the community has already begun," the physician said.